Many of us (ok, probably most of us) start a new year with “Lose weight” at the top of our list of resolutions. We start off well enough: we reduce our food intake, or start exercising, or both. We tell everyone we’re on a diet and avoid treats. After some of the longest days ever, we get on the scale, feeling like we should be AT LEAST five pounds lighter, only to see that the number has hardly budged. Or hasn’t budged at all. What gives? Here is a brief look at some of the factors that could be at play.
How Your Sleep Quantity and Quality Affects Weight Loss
Studies published International Journal of Obesity indicate that better sleep health is connected to more weight and fat loss. (Kline et all., 2021). Short sleep duration of less than six hours of sleep a night are associated with higher BMI, fat, and lean mass (Larsen et. al., 2020). Efficient weight loss is supported by consistent, quality sleep. Getting more sleep can not only result in a lower BMI and a reduction in weight, but will leave you feeling more energetic and mentally sharp.
How Stress Affects Weight Loss
While stress can cause you to eat more, the problem is a bit more complicated than that. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that gets released during periods of physical or psychological stress. It supports our bodies in several important ways, such as controlling our blood sugar levels and metabolism. It also assists our memory, in the development of a fetus in pregnancy, and also helps reduce inflammation. However, long-term activation of cortisol has the potential to disrupt your body’s processes significantly. This cortisol secretion may encourage weight gain and affect where the weight on the body is stored. Some studies indicate that stress and elevated cortisol levels result in fat deposition to the abdominal area rather than in the hips. Abdominal fat is often referred to as “toxic fat” due to its strong correlation to the development of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes.
How Can You Lower Your Cortisol Level?
Well, another benefit of good sleep quality is that it lowers cortisol levels! A body that is well-rested inhibits cortisol secretion, which lets your body expend energy appropriately and not retain excess fat (Auld et. al., 2017). Other ways to lower cortisol levels include exercising and eating a healthy diet. Meditation, spending time with friends, and volunteering in your community are also ways to help bring your stress levels down.
The dreaded H-word! Hormone imbalance can make you moody, tired, give you foggy thinking, AND make it difficult for you to lose weight! While our high-calorie Western diets and sedentary lifestyles are contributing factors, weight gain is also connected to the hormonal changes that our bodies experience in menopause and andropause. As we get older, our bodies produce reduced levels of hormone molecules, so the signals they are attempting to communicate become increasingly less effective.
If your body’s levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are too low, weight gain is common. Supplementing with bio-identical hormones can help restore your hormone levels. Not only does this assist with weight loss, but can help alleviate other symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.
We are utilizing a new tool at Azure MedSpa called Transform. Transform Medical Weight Loss was created by Pharmacy Solutions. Providing a safe and effective weight loss solution for patients, Transform creates a customized protocol for each person based science and clinical data in combination comprehensive patient analysis. By assessing the influence of sleep, adrenal function, hormone balance, behavior and nutrition to identify the root cause of weight gain, Transform will recommend a customized, safe, and effective dose and program for each patient. Would you like to look and feel your very best in 2021? Please contact our office for an appointment. We can help you find solutions that really work.